Boot Blues

Boot Insert

I would first like to say that I love boots! But I have a bit of a problem, many styles are cut and made to fit taller women with longer legs. The top of many high-style boots(just below the knee) often hit my leg at the widest part of my calf, not where they are designed to be worn. After comparing average female calf measurements, I find that my calf circumference is similar to that of a women five inches taller than I am. Yet, a pair of boots that are comfortable for taller woman to wear, are often tight and hard to pull on or zip up to the top without cutting off circulation to my legs. For years, I thought my boot-fitting issues were due to my calf circumference. Turns out it was a length issue all along.

Putting comfort issues aside for the moment, when I wear a taller boot height, less of my legs are showing when I’m wearing a skirt or dress with the hem at or above the knee. The result? My boots are effectively “cutting me off at the knees”, so to speak. A different and more flattering visual effect is achieved when a taller woman wears these same boots. The tops of her boots are lower in proportion to her knees which visually elongates her legs and creates a more evenly-balanced proportional image, all with the same boot height.

So far my boot circumference challenge work-around up to this point has been to pick out the stitches on the back seams of my boots with my seam ripper down about 4-6” then sewing in (or have a shoe repair craftsman sew in) some color-coordinating extra wide elastic, (horizontally) on the sides and at the base of what has then become a V-shaped opening. (see photo) Then my boots are much more comfortable to wear!

I’ve also tried wearing the so-called “wide-calf” boot varieties and found the wide-calf opening to be excessively wide, with more than an inch gap between the boot and my leg. This effect doesn’t seem particularly visually attractive and they feel too loose while consistently wanting to droop down the entire time I have them on.

It depends on the style, but I wonder if boot manufacturers will ever consider making petite-proportioned boots? Admittedly there are a lot of longer-legged petite women out there for whom this may not be such an issue, but I think boots made about 2-3 inches shorter in length/height might work well for people built like me. The length issue reminds me of what often happens to standard-sized dresses and blouses at the hip level when a petite woman tries them on and pulls the waist or shoulders up about an inch or so; everything begins to drape and fit better. It’s like Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns often says, when working to achieve the best fit, always address “length first”.

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